Why Searching for God Is Pointless

“You wander from room to room
Hunting for the diamond necklace
That is already around your neck!”
― Rumi

In my latest dream, I wandered around from place to place.

The first place I went was to a fancy hotel in St. Augustine, Florida, where there were many pools of water. I was asleep, and a preacher I knew lovingly set me in the shallow end of a pool, carefully covering the deep end so that I wouldn’t wake up. Once I did awaken, however, I saw that some people were in pools that were almost entirely shaded from the sun. Others were in a pool fed by a glorious, towering waterfall, but when I drew near, I saw that the waterfall pool had been encased in glass, given artificial lighting, and had slowed to a mere trickle. There was an uninspiring choir singing on a stage in front of the waterfall, and a couple of people were watching. It was blah, so I left.

Then I went to a chapel. It was dark inside, and the church had their own bibles in a translation that doesn’t exist outside of my dream. The people were nice enough, but superficial. I told one lady that if “Christians loved as much as they feared, the world would be transformed.” Walking out, I made a new friend. We walked down the street, and I told her that I was glad to have her along because I wasn’t familiar with the city. We made our way to another friend’s house and ate lunch. Then I went exploring in the neighborhood.

I visited a run-down store in an alleyway where a swarthy snake-like man eyed me threateningly as he tried to conceal the dark magic happening in the back of the store. I was afraid, but the friend I had eaten lunch with was there watching out for me. I became even more afraid when I realized that he might judge me for my presence in such a sketchy place, and I went and hid. He came and found me, comforted me and didn’t judge me at all. We walked along together in companionable silence.

Then I went for a boat ride in an underground river. It turned out the river didn’t actually go anywhere but in a circle, like an amusement ride. At the end of the ride, the operator told me that I was worthy of a Koran, and handed me the book. I got out of the boat, and my friend was waiting for me once again.

I felt such angst over all my searching, but my friend simply looked at me with bemusement. I couldn’t believe how accepting he was. I tried to justify why I was exploring all these things, but he didn’t really seem care one way or the other. He was the kind of friend who is there for you no matter how much drama you create.

Thinking about the dream, it was pretty obvious what it was saying about religion. But I couldn’t figure out why I kept dreaming about this friend who kept popping up everywhere. Soon, however, I realized that the friend was Christ. I was running around like a lunatic in this dream, filled with such anxiety over finding the “right” belief, but all the time, Christ was there. (Rumi calls God “the friend,” and I read him a lot, so that helped me to figure it out!)

It was really cool to realize that God loves me no matter what direction I find myself wandering in, and that if I want, I can just hang out with Him, take off my shoes, and not wander — or wonder — at all.

The Early Disciples Were Stupid and Naive. Oh Yeah, and Crazy, Too.

stoning of stephenSo what are terrorists? Could they be, perhaps, a group of people who go around stoning people who disagree with their beliefs? Who imprison others who publicly voice different spiritual opinions? Can we agree that at the very least, living under this oppression would be undesirable? That we should, perhaps, do whatever it takes to keep such individuals far from our shores?

Wouldn’t it be better to bomb such people rather than risk yet another innocent person getting publicly murdered in a gruesome fashion?

Two thousand years ago, some folks in the Middle East had an awful problem with such people. These folks were called law-abiding Jews. The book of Acts does an excellent job describing the oppression that the early Christians of the day suffered living under these folks. The apostles were imprisoned, whipped and stoned.

In Acts 8:4, the writer describes how Peter calls for retribution after the stoning of Stephen. He talks about how it would be unjust for even a single other innocent to be killed, and how the Christians, as God’s new chosen people, should not allow a group of religious fanatics who worshiped God the wrong way to limit their rights.

Oh wait.

I got a little carried away there. That must be out of my Americanized version of the Bible. Here, let me check out a traditional translation. Let’s see. The NIV says, “Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went.”

Hold on a minute.

They didn’t engage the these crazy Middle-Eastern religious fanatics in warfare? They kept on preaching Jesus? Stephen’s last words asked the Father to forgive them for gruesomely stoning him? What the heck kind of book is this, anyway??

Something is wrong here. This book I’ve been reading is anti-American. No God-fearing person could possibly be okay with Middle-Eastern crazies running rampage all over God’s people without putting a stop to it, right? Shoot, these people don’t know what they’re talking about! Didn’t they read the scriptures with all the smiting?

They preached Jesus. What unrealistic nutcases. Totally out of touch with reality, they were. Didn’t they know that they would end up being dead?? That their loved ones would suffer as well? Talk about fanatics!

It’s a good thing that we have better wisdom today. That we can stop terrorism in it’s tracks with a few well-placed bombs. Those folks two thousand years ago had no idea what was up, obviously. Maybe all they really needed were better-developed weapons. Today, there wouldn’t be a need for all that wimpy forgiveness and passivity. They could press a few buttons, roll up in a tank or two, and BAM — problem solved.

That must have been the reason, right? Why else would they have let these terrorists run right over them like that? Weren’t they afraid of DEATH?

Or were they just naive? Conquering terrorism and oppression with nothing but preaching and prayer — LOL.

Or maybe they knew something we don’t.

Just a thought.

Which Jesus Do You Follow?

barabbasI was reading the book of John this morning, and I came across something that hit me like a ton of bricks. You know how Pilate asks the Jews who they want to be pardoned, and they choose Barabbas over Jesus? Well, Barabbas was an insurrectionist — a likely Zealot who had committed crimes against the Roman Empire in an attempt to gain freedom from Roman oppression for the Jewish people. He was a man who was a Jewish nationalist.

What is really, really interesting about this story, however, is the name Barabbas. Bar Abbas, in Hebrew, means “son of the father.” As if that wasn’t strange enough, the original manuscript of Mark had his name as “Jesus Bar Abbas.” The early church father Origen had the name “Jesus” removed from the text in the second century.

So, you have two Jesus’s being held by Pilate. Both are named “Jesus Son of the Father.” One is crucified, one is set free. The one who was set free was the nationalist who fought to protect the national interests of the Jewish people. Does anyone think that perhaps the gospel writers were trying to make a point here?

Barabbas sounds like a noble guy — a person you’d like to have on your side if the country was in trouble. Yet, the gospels clearly show that his approach was not the God approach. The God approach was self-sacrifice. The God approach healed the soldier’s ear after Peter cut it off defending Jesus.

One argument against non-violence that I hear quite often is, “What if an innocent child was being attacked, what would you do then?” While I don’t have a good answer to that question, I can say with confidence that Jesus was most likely the most innocent person ever attacked. Yet when this was happening, He told Peter to put the sword up, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.”

I’m guessing the gospel writers had a good grasp of the tempting pull of nationalism over the Kingdom of God. After all, it seems right. Yet, we see who the mob persecuting Jesus chose to free — the brave nationalist who would preserve their state and way of life. He must have been a real hero! Jesus the Christ, on the other hand, wasn’t at all interested in preserving national interests or a particular way of life. “Pick up your cross and follow me,” he said.

Christians are being told that “Jesus died for your sins. He went to the cross and was resurrected after three days, and if you believe in him you will be saved.” The thing is, how on earth can anyone believe in Him if they don’t know him? And how can anyone know him if they are following Jesus Bar Abbas?

It’s something to think about.

War Begins in the Minds of Men

You have heard that it was said, “You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? “Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

If I believe that Jesus actually said the words above, and believe that he meant them and that He was telling the truth, then I have some things to think about. We all do,actually.

love your enemiesAnyone who knows me remotely well knows that I am anti-war. I believe it is a complete hypocrisy that people call the United States a Christian country while we are warmongering gun idolators. In my mind, a truly Christian country would have extended an olive branch after 911, seeking reconciliation. To those who argue that we had to “defend ourselves,” what we did was not self defense, it was retaliation and political opportunism. Self defense is more along the lines of the increased airport security we implemented. Anyway, that is beside the point when your defense is the Most High who created the amazing universe.

But I really shouldn’t be worried about what the nation or, in fact, what anyone else is doing. The focus right now needs to be getting the darn log out of my own eye.

What I am concerned with is digging the roots of bitterness and hatred out of my own heart. Change starts with me, right? In ourselves, in our families. Then our communities, then our nation, and then the world.

Who among us doesn’t harbor animosity toward another person? You know, the kind where if you read on Facebook that they got a bad haircut or gained 50 pounds, you wouldn’t be exactly sorry. Who hasn’t sat ruminating about the unkind words another person has said to them? Or talked about how messed up another person’s attitude and behavior is?

The thing is, we’re not supposed to do that.

At all. I don’t see any exceptions. Jesus never says, “Love your enemy except when they talk trash about you.” He doesn’t even provide an exception for when the enemy murders your entire family. Or invades your nation. Nope. He says, “Be perfect.”

It’s all well and good for us to talk about the atrocities that ISIS is committing, for example. Once again, someone has provided a convenient way for us to get the focus off of ourselves and onto a “bigger” sinner. We don’t get to do that, though. Jesus says, Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer; and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.” Not just ISIS. He means me when I think hateful thoughts about someone who hurt my feelings or behaves in a manner that I don’t agree with.

Jesus knows the nature of reality. In the spiritual world, there is little (if any?) difference between murdering someone physically and murdering them in your spirit with your thoughts and words. Our entire universe is constructed of energy, and thoughts and words have their own energy. They are REAL. We must not hate or entertain the demons of hate.

We should pray for ISIS. We should say a quick prayer for the harried person who cut us off in traffic. For the friend who betrayed us. For the parent who didn’t meet our needs. For the husband who cheated. Everyone.

If we truly believe in prayer, how could we doubt for even one second that it’s more effective than bombs or any of the other fallout from hatred?

The Two Words of the Bible You MUST Believe

God is our fatherI’m not going to mince words here — this is ridiculously simple. Jesus gives us the key to recognizing not only who WE are, but who OTHERS are as well in the Lord’s Prayer. Without further ado, the two words that will transform your world are…

OUR FATHER.

When you believe this — and I don’t mean intellectually, but from your HEART — that the supreme creator of the universe is your genetic FATHER… Well, then.

You are a SON or DAUGHTER of God. Period.

Not only that, but everyone else is ALSO a son or daughter of God.

Whoa.

So how would that change how we treat ourselves and others (love our neighbor as ourselves)? I have to say, if we aren’t treating EVERY SINGLE PERSON in our lives with love borne of the recognition that we are borne of love itself and are interacting with the sons and daughters of love, then we don’t really get it. Not yet.

It can be difficult to understand. Our culture puts up blinders that obscure reality. We’re told that we are evil, and indeed, there are impulses that we must fight that certainly are. But who we are at the core? Sons and daughters.

Not servants, not slaves, not sinners. Sons and daughters.

If you truly believe in your heart that you are a genuine SON or DAUGHTER of the Most High, then you will love yourself. You will be free to express your true self, the opinions of others be damned.

You will find it impossible to judge. After all, some of the other sons and daughters might not have seen their birth certificate yet, but that doesn’t change who they ARE. Our only role is to shine the light for our literal brothers and sisters so that they know their true identity. And how better to do this than by treating them as sons and daughters of the most amazing royalty?

Do we treat everyone in our lives as the royalty that they are?

If not, why not? Could it be that we haven’t truly internalized the truth of our lineage?

MORE Good News

joy of the lordI’ve said before that I don’t think the Good News that Jesus talks about has anything to do with accepting a particular story about his life or you go to hell. That seems silly, to be honest, and not a little depressing. I think the REAL Good News that he wanted us to share is at least two-fold, and has little, if anything, to do with what religion often tells us.

First of all, the Good News is that God is LOVE. He loves us incredibly and enormously. Unconditionally. We don’t have to earn it — only see and accept it. And that’s more difficult than it seems. The dream I had about God’s transformative love literally changed my life, and I try to keep its truth in mind every single day. Once you can accept God’s love, its enemy FEAR goes away. Because if God loves you — wait, if GOD THE CREATOR OF THE FREAKIN’ UNIVERSE LOVES YOU — then you have absolutely NOTHING to fear. Nothing. Not even death. Death, in the light of God’s love, is like changing from a raggity outfit you bought at the Goodwill into some Armani duds, I’d think.

The second part of the Good News is that we don’t have to wait for Jesus to come or any other future event to access the Kingdom of God. Nope, as Jesus said, it is HERE. Now.

Think of it as another dimension that sits comfortably around us. To access this dimension, you have to have a certain frequency — the frequency of love. That is a very high frequency. In the worldly dimension that most of us are currently in (the time-based linear frequency), we are operating at a much lower frequency — the frequency of fear. Hence, war, hate and all that other bad stuff.

You can access the Kingdom by deliberately raising your frequency — your vibe. :-D

Let me give you an example.

I woke up this morning feeling absolutely joyful. Note that I have some good reasons to feel the opposite way right now. A good friend is angry with me and much worse, my mother came over to my house crying because she is fairly convinced that my older son Sky has “passed to the other side.” She had a dream in which he came up to her and spoke to her, woke up crying and has been crying on and off ever since. You know that I think dreams can reveal truths, and this dream was SO real to her. When I called the sweet lady he stays with to check on him, she told me that he took off over a week ago without saying goodbye or letting anyone know where he was going. Disconcerting.

As soon as I heard this news, lower-dimensional thoughts began to come. Vivid images of myself cutting my wrists, shooting myself in the head came to mind. Regretful thoughts about my parenting entered. For a moment, I thought about simply walking out the door, sticking out my thumb and going somewhere — anywhere but here, as if I could escape grief.

Then I remembered that I didn’t have to subject myself to these thoughts and the feelings that accompany them. I reminded myself that my son was very happy and well in my mom’s dream. I reminded myself that God loves my son more than I ever will. I thought about how my son astral travels on a regular basis and could have simply stopped in to say hello, which is what his friend told me is likely the case. I thought about how God has him in His amazing hands no matter what form his soul is in. Then I focused my thoughts back on my new business, which is where they had been before the drama started. And I ended up having a very good and productive day.

Not giving into fear and despair is stepping into the Kingdom. It feels spectacular.

Here’s a quote from the apostle Paul:

For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ…

The war is our thoughts. And just like the Third Amendment says that we don’t have to quarter soldiers in our homes, nor do we have to give space to thoughts that war against the knowledge of Christ’s presence in our lives RIGHT NOW. For me, following Jesus gives me the insight and direction to wage an intelligent war against this crap.

So when I catch myself thinking an ugly thought about the argument my friend and I had, or worrying about Sky, I DESTROY it. It’s my choice, and I have been given the power to do so. And then I get to feel that comfortable heavenly dimension settle around my soul. It’s wonderful.

The joy of the Lord is our strength. :-)

Heresy

I’m really glad I don’t live in the 16th century. Or even a hundred years ago. If I did, I certainly wouldn’t be able to share my thoughts as I am now — at least not without getting burned at some stake. Here’s why.

I’ve been asking God to reveal the truth to me about Jesus. Who He is. How things work.

Last night, I had a dream that was very disturbing.

In the dream, I lived in dorm with a bunch of other girls. Everyone was happy and well-cared for. It came time for me to get my hair dyed. The tradition was that the girl’s father would take care of this matter for her.

To have my hair dyed, I had to stand underneath an platform while an innocent child’s blood dripped on me. I was appalled. I thought, “How could the child’s mother have made this deal with my father to allow her child to be killed for me?” I was enraged. I stepped out from underneath the platform and went back to the dorm.

I was ratty-looking and uncared for. The other girls all had gorgeous hair and were happy and enjoying life. I was miserable because of my unbelievably cruel father.

I returned to the platform. There was the boy who had been sacrificed on my behalf. He was lying there, almost dead. Next to him was an almost identical boy. Whenever I tried to ask the hurt boy what had happened to him, the other boy would answer, “They hurt me,” and go into details of the torture as if it were his own. He seemed spaced out, brainwashed.

Again, I was appalled at the cruelty of the boy’s father. Not only did he intend to kill the boy, but he was using the boy as a whipping boy for the son he truly loved. And even that love seemed twisted, as that boy was not a shining example of happiness and mental health.

An odd element of this dream was that on the platform next to the child who was being sacrificed was a big pile of bacon.

So here’s what I think it all means:

First of all, I think the bacon symbolizes something unholy. While lamb was an acceptable sacrifice back in the day, pig was most definitely not. It would have profaned the alter. So whatever was happening there was unholy. On the surface, this seems obvious, like DUH — of course a father torturing his son for someone else is an awful thing to do!

I think the whipping boy is Jesus. I think the father is a false idea of God. And the boy who was spaced out is the brainwashed person who thinks that God would torture his son on his behalf. And me, well, this dream was a pretty good representation of my spirit’s grief at considering the idea that I might have such a father.

I mean, God is my strength. My healer. My provider.

My rock. My shelter in times of trouble.

He is living water.

His love is enormous.

Yes, I doubt the atonement theory of the crucifixion. My conscious mind becomes frightened when I question orthodoxy, but apparently, my subconscious (spirit?) doesn’t have an issue with it.

Dandelions, the Ego, Karma and Jesus

flowers1

This morning, I took the latest clothing that I sold out to the mailbox and was simply astounded at the beautiful day. So I plopped down in my front yard and laid there for a while. While I was down there with a bug’s-eye view of the dandelions growing in our yard, I felt thankful not to be rich in the typical sense.

I mean, I’m sure the overgrown yard with the dandelions and the woman with dirty bare feet lying in the front yard would go over really well in a ritzier neighborhood. I like not worrying about these things.

I feel really rich in the sense that matters, though. I am abundantly blessed. I cannot think of one way in which I am not blessed.

……………………………………………………………………

Sage had a horrible dream last night. It was his brain torturing him again. I’ve noticed a pattern in his life and my own. Whenever we are glorying in the beauty and goodness of God, the ego throws a fit. The more the ego is denied its way, the more it behaves like a small, evil little child. It’s freeing to step back and simply watch while it has its tantrums instead of thinking that’s who I am. I think I got that point across to Sage as well.

……………………………………………………………………

I’ve been reading Sikh scriptures the past couple of days. They’re really beautiful.

Endless are His Praises, endless are those who speak them. Endless are His Actions, endless are His Gifts. Endless is His Vision, endless is His Hearing. His limits cannot be perceived. What is the Mystery of His Mind? The limits of the created universe cannot be perceived. Its limits here and beyond cannot be perceived. Many struggle to know His limits, but His limits cannot be found. No one can know these limits. The more you say about them, the more there still remains to be said.

I know God is in those scriptures.

There’s a lot about karma there, as well. Karma makes sense, but ultimately, the whole idea bothers me. If I am being nice only in an effort to increase my own karma, then my actions are not coming from my heart. And if I believe that an abused child was an abuser in another life, then that thought kills compassion.

I’ve wondered if Jesus came to obliterate karma. After all, we no longer have to sacrifice lambs to pay for our sins. I was sitting in the yard thinking about this, when the parable of the vineyard workers came to mind.

“For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. 2 He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard.

3 “About nine in the morning he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing. 4 He told them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ 5 So they went.

“He went out again about noon and about three in the afternoon and did the same thing. 6 About five in the afternoon he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, ‘Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?’

7 “‘Because no one has hired us,’ they answered.

“He said to them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard.’

8 “When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.’

9 “The workers who were hired about five in the afternoon came and each received a denarius. 10 So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. 11 When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner. 12 ‘These who were hired last worked only one hour,’ they said, ‘and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.’

13 “But he answered one of them, ‘I am not being unfair to you, friend. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? 14 Take your pay and go. I want to give the one who was hired last the same as I gave you. 15 Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’

16 “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”

To me, this sounds like Jesus might be saying that there never was karma in the first place. After all, he told this story about the Kingdom of God before His death. Karma doesn’t exist if a worker for the Kingdom can be hired at the last minute and reap the same benefits.

I like the idea of no karma for me or anyone else. No karma…only open eyes.

Why I am unChristian

guns_god_country_flag
I find myself at theological odds with almost every Christian I know. So much, in fact, that I question whether or not I should continue to refer to myself as such. In our culture, there is very little similarity to what I believe and to the cultural baggage that the word carries.

Here are some beliefs that seem to make me unChristian in today’s world:

    Violence is wrong under any circumstances. Jesus didn’t fight the oppressor Rome. Rather, he continued to try to open everyone’s eyes until they killed him — a death to which he submitted peacefully, forgiving his killers. Until Constantine legitimized (Romanized) the Christian religion, all Christ followers believed in non-violence. This is so far from the truth today, where we are perfectly comfortable supporting war in the name of our religion.

    Pointing out other’s moral failings is not the way of Christ. The only people who Jesus condemned were the folks who were criticizing others. Calling gay people “unrepentant sinners,” criticizing the movie Noah for not being Christian enough and looking down on others in any way is a distraction from the love and peace that is present in Christ. Culture wars — yuk.

    Many of the writings in the Old Testament are not literally true. Christ shows us what the spirit of God is actually like. I don’t believe, in the story of Noah, that God is a regretful killer who exterminates mankind. That is not the God I know. I think that story, and many like it, consist of layers of historical, cultural and philosophical meaning, some of which are obscured due to lack of context. For example, perhaps the story of Noah is about the death of the ego. Who knows. On the other hand, when the prophets cry out against injustice against the poor, I do indeed hear the actual voice of God speaking through them. How do I pick and choose what I think is true in the Old Testament? It’s simple. If it matches up with Jesus’s words, then I believe it. I am a Christ follower, not Jewish or a hybrid of Jew and Christian.

    Religion holds us captive. Jesus came to set the captives free, but religion puts chains on our minds. Why is it so scary to contemplate that our sacred writings might not be the actual words of God? Because we’ve been taught that to question is to be condemned. This is not freedom. Jesus continually referred to the Jewish canon as “your scriptures.” He didn’t call them “my word” or anything like that. He wanted people to open their eyes and be free.

    I’m not really worried about anything Paul said. I like the apostle Paul, especially what he says about the fruits of the spirit. But I don’t fret anymore over trying to figure out his writings. I don’t think he ever fully released the bonds of his culture, and this is reflected in his writings. Whenever there is a conflict between something he wrote and the freedom I find in the words of Jesus, I choose Jesus.

    I think sin is a lack of love. For example, promiscuity is wrong not because of the act, but because it’s not loving to sleep around. Not to the resulting child who will then likely grow up without two parents or to the broken-hearted partners that one leaves in one’s wake. Selfishness is a sin because it ignores the needs of another. The only cure for a lack of love is to show love, not to point it out in a self-righteous manner.

    I’m sure there’s plenty more things that disqualify me for Christianity in many people’s books, such as the fact that I can’t stomach attending a church that doesn’t believe in female clergy, for example. I am definitely at odds with American Christianity.

    I am content to not label myself at all, but if someone asks, I suppose I’ll keep saying that I’m a Christ-follower and leave it at that.

Atheists in the Kingdom of Heaven: A Retelling of the Good Samaritan

hitchhikderAnd behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.” But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

If Jesus told the story of the good Samaritan today, I imagine it would go somewhat like this:

Jesus replied, “A man was hitchhiking from Houston to Nacogdoches, and got picked up by some drunk country boys who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead by the side of the road. Now by chance a pastor was going down that road, and when he saw him he thought about stopping, but realized he would be late to his church council meeting. So he drove on. So likewise an elder of the church, who worried that the guy would bleed on his upholstery and find out where he lived, possibly jeopardizing the safety of his family. So he, too, passed by. But an atheist, as he journeyed from a Comic Con convention, pulled up beside him and had compassion. He went to him and bound up his wounds, not worrying about possible lawsuits for unauthorized medical care. Then he covered him with his jacket and called an ambulance. He drove behind the ambulance so he could advocate for the likely-uninsured man once he arrived at the hospital. The next day he pulled out his checkbook and paid what he could for the man’s care, and then offered to get the guy a hotel room for a few days so he could recuperate. Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the unfortunate hitchhiker?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.”

In those days, Samaritans were considered to be theologically inferior and unclean. I’m thinking that from the perspective of some Christians, atheists are the modern day equivalent. This begs the question: Do you have to subscribe to a certain theology to serve God and inherit eternal life?

I think not.

I don’t think God cares what we believe. I think He cares how we act toward our neighbor. In this story, it is the “unsaved” person who is truly living out God’s love and participating in His kingdom.